Hey, Bill! Pick on Someone Your Own Size. (Or, Sparrows are not Ducks.)

20150618_190414So if you’ve been reading along recently, you may have read a post or two about the rain and subsequent mud we’ve been experiencing here in the Heartland. Specifically at my house. And all over my house, thanks to mud-loving dogs. According to very excited local meteorologists, it was the wettest May in Oklahoma history with upwards of 15 to 18 inches of rain depending on where you were standing.

And then, just to mess with us, all of that wet weather was followed by a couple of weeks that were almost rain-free. The mud surrendered to the blazing sun. We actually got to mow the yard. We ventured out without even a backward glance at the old raincoat.

Well, kids, it was just the old calm before the storm. During the second week of blissfully sunny, dry weather, we heard rumors of a storm brewing down in the Gulf of Mexico. We ignored it. The whole ignorance/bliss thing.

But then some of the reports actually managed to breach our defenses and there was excited chatter about a weather event. Oh, it is NEVER good when they toss the word event in there.

The final blow was when they named the damn storm. When a storm gets a proper name, you have to take note.

789436_1280x720Tropical Storm Bill. Yes, Bill. I know we’re being all P.C. by not calling every hurricane and storm by a feminine name, but don’t we all agree that Bertha is a bit more tropical stormy sounding?

Alas, we were stuck with Bill. And I think he was a bit bitter. He swirled and whirled his way right up from the Texas gulf coast and took a good swipe at Oklahoma. OH the rain. And then more rain. And top that off with a bit more rain.

Screenshot_2015-06-18-17-25-32 (1)This is when I started wishing that phones weren’t so darn smart these days. Our phones sounded alarm, after alarm, after alarm about the serious threat of flash flooding. Now, far be it from me to downplay the dangers of copious amounts of water pouring down from the heavens to overwhelm our storm sewers, rivers, and streams, but if I have to hear that honking alarm one more time, I just might go off the grid.

At some point we just smash the phone to shut it up and don’t even take note of the actual alarm. It’s the phone that cried wolf/flood/tornado.

The kicker about that alarm is that it does NOTHING to warn baby birds about the danger of steady downpours. There are no little, tiny smartphones in the nest. And evil Bill took full advantage of the situation.

Right now you’re thinking my brain is waterlogged and I’m making no sense whatsoever. Stay with me. We’ll get there.

Yesterday, during one of Bill’s milder outbursts, I was walking a stout, feisty dog down a sidewalk in front of my business because apparently dogs still have to go to the bathroom, even during a “major weather event.” Suddenly, something sitting in the middle of a sizable puddle in the parking lot caught my eye. There, soaked through, shivering, and stunned, was a tiny fledgling sparrow.

20150618_153022Fortunately, I saw the little bird before my canine escort did. One quick scoop and the soggy baby was out of the puddle and headed inside my dog boarding and daycare facility for a little check-up. Pretty sure, had he been aware of said destination, the bird would not have considered this development an improvement to his situation. Ignore the 50+ carnivores, little guy, I got this.

After handing the dog off (we did not need his curious, insistent help!), I tossed some little towels in the microwave (note: I put TOWELS in the microwave) to warm them and then wrapped little Soggy in the warm towels. (Note: You do NOT put the baby bird in the microwave to warm it…that is WRONG. You might think I don’t have to spell that out, and yet…well, I feel better for having said it.)

I put Soggy into a little bucket all cozy and covered in warm towels and ran errands with him. Yes, he went with me to the credit union. We went through a drive-through for a beverage (he didn’t want anything). We dropped some plastics at the recycling place. It may seem crazy to take a baby bird for a trip in a Jeep, but what Soggy needed was a little time to warm up, dry out, and calm down. I needed a little time to get my errands done. Multitasking at its finest.

Finally, a few errands into our outing, I heard a little peep from the bucket on the seat next to me. Good sign.

Then that peep was followed by a little chorus of questioning cheeps and chirps. Very good sign!

Back we headed to the spot where I found Soggy. There are lots of shrubs and trees around that parking lot and the sparrows nested there in droves this spring. Soggy was likely born in that parking lot and he still needed his wild parents to finish his how-to-be-a-bird education. The best thing for Soggy at this point was to get him back to his mom and dad.

Ah, but what about Bill? Bill was still hanging out. Bill was still spitting and drenching everything in his path.

Time to outsmart Bill.

20150618_163106I took Soggy’s little bucket, turned it sideways to create a little storm shelter. I tucked the shelter beneath and behind a large shrub and made a little cave in the warm, dry towels. Soggy could hang out there until the storm passed and his folks called to him to come home.

Tiny bird vs Tropical Storm Bill. I am pleased to say that the win goes to tiny bird in this match. I’m also pleased to report that Bill has moved along (friends to the east, your phone may be screaming at you as I type) and we now have a bright shiny new day to enjoy as we work to dry out once again. There is surely some grand David and Goliath message in this story, but right now, I’m just grateful that one small bird caught my eye yesterday.

Hopefully, Soggy’s parents will now teach their adventurous child the difference between being a sparrow and a duck. They will surely scold him and tell him that in the event of another Bill, Bertha, or Charles, as the case may be, it is not wise to fly into pouring rain or to land in standing water.

Either way, I think great things are ahead for Soggy. He dodged many potential tragedies yesterday – Bill, dogs, flooded parking lots, torrential rain, microwave ovens – to survive and likely thrive. Surely he is destined for birdie greatness. I hope he throws a feathered wave my way if our paths cross again.

How will I know him if I see him, you ask? He’ll surely be the sparrow sporting a teeny, tiny smartphone.

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